These podcasts are my attempts to think through how to have a deeper walk with God. To enjoy more satisfying and meaningful times of quiet with him. As I explore topics on these recordings I hope they help you, and that you can reflect back what you are learning so that we can all grow and learn together.
Today I’m in Buckinghamshire on one of my prayer walks and I’ve come across a sign.
The sign reads:
“This is a protected site under section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Trespass on this site is a criminal offence.”
The sign has a picture of a man with a red line across his body, indicating no admittance.
Underneath it continues:
“The Chequers Estate is monitored by security cameras. Thames Valley Police.”
What is going on here? I had found myself walking along a footpath crossing the borders of Chequers. For those of you who don’t know, Chequers is the location of the country residence of the British Prime Minister, currently Boris Johnson. This is where he might come to entertain heads of state or notable people visiting our country, perhaps wishing to do business or discuss diplomatic issues.
As you can imagine, with a sign like that on the tree, I’m not going down that track. I’m clearly not meant to be going beyond that point. I don’t want to test the sign of no admittance. I have no desire to be jumped upon by soldiers or police. It’s not the place for me.
One can understand why heads of state need a high level of security and protection. Seeing the sign reminded me that no such barriers exist between us and God. Ephesians 2.18:
“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18 NIV11)
I love the way that we have all three aspects of God in this verse. Through him (Christ) we have access to the Father by one Spirit. Christ, Father, Spirit.
It is because of their cooperative work that we have access to the Father. An access that we can’t buy, earn, or deserve.
We often feel separated from people who are prominent in our society, but there is no separation between us and the Father. What an amazing thought. We have access to Him at all times. The word “access” is in the present continuous tense in the Greek. It’s impossible for a believer to exist outside of God’s presence. We always have access to His presence no matter what’s going on.
Consider Hebrews 4.16:
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV11)
Access is always ours. We can approach the Father. We can go to him, we can speak to him. There’s no reason to believe that anything can stand in the way of unlimited, permanent access.
A commentary I read puts it this way:
“We have access because we are those who desire to walk with the Spirit, those with whom the Spirit has chosen to walk.” Warrington, “The Holy Spirit”, The Bible Speaks Today, p217.
The Spirit has decided, “I’m walking with you.” I’m in a field at the moment in Buckinghamshire, and the Spirit is walking with me! What a thought. I am walking with the Spirit right now at this very moment as I record this. The Spirit is with you as you listen to this today, or in 10 years down the line. We are walking together because he has chosen to walk with us despite his divine status and our lack of it.
The quote goes on:
“Despite his divine status, the Spirit is presented as undertaking a service for believers, resulting in their being presented to God in a superlative fashion; they are located in the very presence of God himself.” Warrington, “The Holy Spirit”, The Bible Speaks Today, p216.
When you pray, when you consciously enter the presence of God, when you spend that time of quiet with him, you are being presented to Him as one who deserves to be there. You are not approaching him in despair, not crawling in, nor walking backwards, or bowing low as if you have some kind of subservient position. You have the same position before God as Jesus. The Spirit presents us to God the Father in the same way Jesus is presented – as the one who is victorious, the one who is glorious, the one who is perfected. That’s the way we are presented.
How does that affect the way that you pray? How does that affect the way that you approach God? Let me know what these thoughts stir in you today.
I am glad I had that unplanned encounter with the sign today. It has made me grateful for the glorious access I have with God.
Scriptures referred to or you might find useful: Hebrews 4.16; Ephesians 2.18
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God bless, Malcolm
PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John